When we think about communication, we often think about how we communicate; whether it’s by text, email, in person, or through social media, the medium is often the focus, not our intentions.
But communication is more than the platforms we use; it’s a combination of what we’re communicating and the way we communicate it.
In other words, we all have a communication style, driven by an underlying intention to get the desired outcome.
And over the years, we’ve developed a dominant style to get what we want.
If you’re a parent, have you ever noticed how you get your child to do something, like their homework or eat their vegetables… or clean their room?
It’s the difference between, “JOHNNY! GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM NOW!” versus, “Johnny, go clean your room, please.”
It’s no different when we’re communicating with our partners.
If I could only get my husband to pick up his socks… just kidding.
He knows he needs to pick up his socks! (Right Howard?!) ????
When we spend much of our waking (and sleeping) hours with our spouse at home and at work, we occasionally fall into the trap of thinking that they should know what needs to be completed, whether it be around the house or for the business. And it goes both ways and without saying…
We are not mind-readers!
3 Tips To Learn Your (& Your Partner’s) Communication Style
Communication is a multifaceted animal and in order to be effective with it, we must learn how to harness its power within ourselves and recognize the power it has on us when it’s coming from our partner.
Master these three things and you’ll be on your way to being an effective communicator with everyone in your life.
1) Intentions: Be intentional with your communication.
Look at your usual approach. Are you usually direct and demanding or are you casual and open?
How does your partner usually respond? Are they defensive and reactionary, or are they receptive and responsive?
Is your approach similar to others? Or is it different?
EXERCISE: Choose 2-3 intentions (Examples: to be funny, angry, frustrated, happy, loving, etc…), choose a task for your partner to perform. It can be as simple as signing a document. Make the request with your chosen intention and notice how he/she reacts. Your intention is the fuel behind your words and can literally set the tone of your interaction. Try this for a week.
2) Words: Words are POWERFUL, choose wisely.
Examine the words you use when you’re in communication, whether it’s by text, email, in person, or on social media. Words carry a charge on the Negative-Positive spectrum and can subtly influence the person on the other end of your communication. (Think about these words and the charge they carry: Love/Hate, Like/Dislike, Favor/Unfavorable, Can’t/Unable To…)
Be conscientious of the words you use in your communication and the energy it carries; notice how the words your partner uses and how they impact you.
EXERCISE: We’re bombarded by communication every single day. During your day while reading and responding to emails, texts, social media posts, and personal interactions, notice how different words lands for you (or how they make you feel). When crafting your response, try using alternate words that mean something similar. Example: Instead of saying, “I need you to do XYZ.” , consider saying, “Would you be wiling to do XYZ?”, or “That’s awful, I hate that.”, replace it with, “That’s not my cup of tea.”
3) Reframe: You’re in control of how you give and receive communication. Don’t take it so personally.
Do you find yourself being offended or being hurt by what others say to you?
Do you react accordingly to one-up or hurt back?
Does your partner get easily offended or hurt by what you or others say?
Generally, most people aren’t great communicators and have a below average vocabulary, so when you’re in communication with people, don’t take what they say so personally.
EXERCISE: Reframe your experience with people. Listen to the intentions behind the words they say, and not the words themselves and respond accordingly.
It’s important to learn your and your partner’s communication style, so you can be more effective at home and at your place of business. You may not have the same communication style as your partner, but if you listen to them with an open mind and resist the urge to be defensive, your intentions will be heard and you’ll accomplish more as a team.
When we are responsible for the way we communicate, our interactions with our inner circle and our circle of influence will completely transform.
So what’s your communication style? Is it to be heard or to hurt? Is it to be understood or to understand? Is to be right and make the other person wrong? Or is it to be loving and supportive because you’re in this together?
You get to decide…
Hey Howard, if you’re reading this, don’t worry about the sock. I got you, babe.
To Your Success,